Image

Mark Steyn

On the Town

The Song Is You episode six

ImageHappy New Year, and welcome to 2016. We have some films for first-footing, a song for the season, and a look back at my take on the big news stories of the year.

But last year was, of course, Frank Sinatra's centennial, and, before we finally close the book on 2015, here for the New Year holiday weekend is one last episode of The Song Is You. In this ancillary series to our Sinatra Songs of the Week, composers and lyricists tell the stories behind some of the great standards Sinatra sang.

This episode features songs by a trio of great composers: Burton Lane is the writer of such standards as "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever"; Jerry Herman has given us Broadway blockbusters like Mame and La Cage aux Folles; and Cy Coleman was a force in pop, jazz, film and theatre for half-a-century. Herman talks about getting chart hits from show scores, Coleman recalls the song he wrote in the tempo of Cary Grant's walk, and Lane explains why he likes a Gershwin tune - how about you?

Along the way we hear a lot of big songs, including "Witchcraft", "The Best Is Yet To Come", "Hello, Dolly!" and a brace of classics from Songs for Swingin' Lovers - "How About You?" and "Old Devil Moon" - plus one of the wackiest numbers Frank ever recorded: "I'll Take Tallulah." These recordings span all stages of Sinatra's career, from the Tommy Dorsey days through Columbia, Capitol and Reprise, with appearances by Jo Stafford, Ella Logan, the Pied Pipers and the Count Basie band, and arrangements by Paul Weston, Sy Oliver, Axel Stordahl, Percy Faith, Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Quincy Jones.

Click above to listen.

We hope you've enjoyed our Sinatra centennial observances these last twelve months. Don't forget our Song of the Week returns to its regular schedule, late on Sunday night, January 3rd.

And if you've missed one of our previous editions...

In Episode One of The Song Is You, Mitchell Parish, Phil Springer, and Betty Comden and Adolph Green talk about songs such as "Stardust", "Sweet Lorraine", "How Little We Know", "New York, New York" and "Lonely Town".

In Episode Two, we hear from Irving Caesar, Ann Ronell and Alan Jay Lerner about "Almost Like Being In Love", "I Could Have Danced All Night", "On A Clear Day", "Tea For Two" and "Willow, Weep For Me".

In Episode Three, I talk to Alan Bergman, one half of the great writing team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, whose songs include "Windmills of Your Mind", "The Way We Were" and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers". But, long before their big movie numbers, Alan and Marilyn were young, unknown writers in Los Angeles who nevertheless managed to get Sinatra to record a handful of their songs, including "Nice 'n' Easy" and the swingin' nursery rhyme "Ol' MacDonald".

In Episode Four, we celebrate half-a-century of Sinatra Christmas recordings, and enjoy a few moments with Hugh Martin, composer of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", Sammy Cahn, lyricist of "The Christmas Waltz", and the daughter of Irving Berlin, who gave us "White Christmas".

In Episode Five, Jule Styne talks about his early days as Frank's house composer in the early Forties, Susan Birkenhead takes us through the genesis of Sinatra's last great saloon song, and we end with a certain blockbuster New York song by Kander & Ebb, with a word from Liza Minnelli.

~For a century's worth of Sinatra songs see here. For Mark's podcast with longtime Sinatra conductor Vincent Falcone, you can find Part One here and Part Two here. For Steyn's take on Sinatra at the movies see here. And Mark's original 1998 obituary of Frank, "The Voice", can be found in the anthology Mark Steyn From Head To Toe, while you can read the stories behind many other Sinatra songs in Mark Steyn's American Songbook. Personally autographed copies of both books are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore.

from On the Town, January 1, 2016

 

The Song Is You episode five

ImageComposers and lyricists tell the stories behind the songs Sinatra sang

Continue Reading

The Song Is Yule

Image50 years of Sinatra Christmas classics

Continue Reading

The Song Is You: Nice 'n' Easy

ImageAlan Bergman, co-author of such songs as "Windmills of Your Mind", "The Way We Were" and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", talks to Mark about the songs he wrote for Sinatra...

Continue Reading

The Song Is You episode two

ImageMark talks to the songwriters of "Tea For Two", "Almost Like Being In Love", "On A Clear Day" and "Willow, Weep For Me"

Continue Reading

"Where Are You Working Next Week?"

ImagePart Two of Mark's audio special with Frank Sinatra's longtime pianist and conductor Vincent Falcone Jr.

Continue Reading

On Stage with Sinatra

ImagePart one of Mark's conversation with the man who played piano and conducted for Sinatra during the Seventies and Eighties: Vincent Falcone

Continue Reading

The Song Is You episode one

ImageThe first of a new audio series with Mark in conversation with great songwriters

Continue Reading

Mark's Halloween Horror!

Yes, it's Steyn's night of horror. No, not his flight on United. That was just the warm-up.

Following his spooky interpretation of a 1970s rock classic for last Halloween, Mark thought he'd try something even scarier for this All-Hallows Eve. He's always wanted to do one of those 1980s rock videos - moody, menacing, monochrome, full of smoke and guitars. So click below and stand well back:

With a tip of the hat to Tweety, Sylvester ...and Sting.

For the backstory, see here.

For more, see here.

 

A Theme to a Kill

An encore presentation of Mark's audio salute to James Bond's music man, John Barry

Continue Reading

Dads - on-screen, on-stage, and off

For this Father's Day weekend, I thought we'd enjoy a word from Jack Lemmon. Not because he's my dad, but because a quarter-century of Father's Days ago, I spent a little bit of time with him...

Continue Reading

WHAM!!!!!

The Avengers: Age of Ultron has opened, heralding the start of yet another superhero summer at the multiplex. Rick McGinnis writes about the age of the comic-book movie here, and I've expressed my disquiet about the damage to heroism that comes when you prefix it with "super-". But they're all that's keeping the big studios in business these days, and the new Avengers movie is likely to be one of the biggest-grossing of all time. Captain America, the Mighty Thor, Iron-Man... They're bringing in ...

Continue Reading

Billie Holiday: Don't Explain

Steyn marks the centenary of a great singer, born one hundred years ago today in Philadelphia

Continue Reading

Easter Parade

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to our readers around the world. We moved our Saturday movie night to Good Friday for Mel Gibson's blockbuster The Passion Of The Christ. So, for the weekend proper, here's a special podcast, audiophonically adapted from an essay that appears in Mark's book A Song For The Season. Mark traces the story of Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade", from its obscure origins as a First World War morale booster to its re-emergence a generation later as the American Songbook's ...

Continue Reading

Ain't That A Kick - Sammy Cahn All The Way

2015 is Frank Sinatra's centenary year, which necessitates a few modifications to SteynOnline's music, film and entertainment coverage. Our official observances commence tomorrow when our Song of the Week department becomes a Song of the Semi-Week in order to squeeze in 100 Sinatra songs of the century between now and December. Several other folk seem to have opted for this approach, too - our old friend the Pundette has launched a dedicated Sinatra Centenary site for that very purpose - so we ...

Continue Reading

Moment of Ecstasy

Steyn marks the centenary of screen siren and spread-spectrum siren Hedy Lamarr

Continue Reading

One for the Road

Mark is in Chicago this weekend promoting his new book, The [Un]documented Mark Steyn. As we mentioned a week ago, Hugh Hewitt read it and said:

"Moon River and Me" @MarkSteynOnline '09 essay on Johnny Mercer alone worth the price of book...

Continue Reading

Indiana Cole and his Temple of Tunes

Cole Porter died fifty years ago this week - October 15th 1964, in Santa Monica...

Continue Reading

Beautiful Dolls and Only Girls

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, the conflict that gave us the modern world - Communist Russia, the post-Ottoman Middle East, Europe's loss of civilizational confidence. The catalyst for war was the assassination of the Archduke Franz-Ferdinand, which Mark noted here a month ago. In the weeks ahead, we'll be looking at some of World War One's cultural legacy, for good or ill. As a curtain-raiser, here's an encore presentation of a SteynOnline audio special, celebrating the British Tommies' favourite ballad of the war years, "If You Were The Only Girl In The World", and its composer Nat D Ayer.

Ayer was a two-hit wonder, with an ocean between them: "If You Were The Only Girl" was his British hit; his American hit from five years earlier was known to generations of Looney Tunes viewers for most of the next century - "Oh, You Beautiful Doll". This special podcast was first broadcast to mark the 100th birthday of "Beautiful Doll" in 2011...

Continue Reading

Life is a Cabaret

Mark talks to Kander & Ebb, writers of Cabaret and Chicago - and recalls his own small place in their oeuvre

Continue Reading

A Land Fit for Superheroes

...but whatever happened to non-super heroes?

Continue Reading

And Then There Was One...

The last of the Mamas and Papas when all the leaves are brown...

Continue Reading

Pajama Nights on Broadway

A SteynOnline audio special to mark the 60th birthday of The Pajama Game

Continue Reading

Artie Shaw: Beginning the Beguine ...and Ending It

No sooner do we release the new eBook of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade than readers start bombarding me with demands to know where the audio book is. Well, here's the nearest to an audio excerpt from the book - a salute to Artie Shaw...

Continue Reading

What Made Buddy Run?

Mark's centenary salute to Budd Schulberg, the Hollywood survivor who wrote What Makes Sammy Run?, On The Waterfront and Face In The Crowd...

Continue Reading

PAUL SIMON, LONE TEEN RANGER

In lieu of our usual Song of the Week, we present a SteynOnline audio special: Mark talks to singer-songwriter Paul Simon - including a tour of Simon's boyhood neighborhood and a live performance of his very first song

Continue Reading

PAUL SIMON: SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A SONG ABOUT THE MOON?

In Part Two of our audio special, Paul Simon talks to Mark about songwriting, demonstrates the original ska version of "Mother And Child Reunion", and muses on the alleged homosexual subtext of "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard"

Continue Reading

Follow Mark

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Join Mailing List

Search SteynOnline.com

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

© 2016 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc. All rights reserved.
No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of Mark Steyn Enterprises.